Best Small Business Books 2009 – Reader’s Choice Awards

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2009 Small Business Book Awards - Reader's ChoiceWelcome to the 2009 Small Business Book Awards – Reader’s Choice edition.

The following books are the top 10 small business books for 2009 as voted by the readers of Small Business Trends and other entrepreneurs and small business managers.  These are from a field of 47 new books nominated initially. Write-ins were allowed.  (Note our separate Editor’s Choice Edition.)

This is the second year in a row for the Awards.  But this year we made them bigger and better.  First, we got more input from readers on the initial list of nominees. Second, we implemented a formal voting process for the final choices.

To be eligible, books had to appeal to small business personnel, entrepreneurs, freelancers or the self-employed. Also, books had to be newly published (or revised) during 2009 (no older books).

Nearly 4,000 votes were cast, with almost 200 write-ins. Thank you very much for helping choose!

Enough talk….  Here is the list of 2009 Best Small Business Books – Reader’s Choice Awards (in alphabetical order):


Awesomely SimpleAwesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action This book helps you cut through the clutter as a business owner. There is an endless stream of things to distract you – the trick is to identify what REALLY drives success.  Author John Spence focuses on 6 strategies: Vivid Vision, Best People, A Performance-Oriented Culture, Robust Communication, A Sense of Urgency, and Extreme Customer Focus.   Read reviews.


BAM - Busting 20 Customer Service MythsBAM: Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World “BAM” debunks 20 myths about customer service — from “The customer is always right” to “Companies achieve customer service by under-promising and over-delivering.”  This book by Barry Moltz and Mary Jane Grinstead features a  “customer value calculation” and a list of customer satisfaction questions, among other resources.  Read our review of BAM.


Career Renegade by Jonathan FieldsCareer Renegade Jonathan Fields, a Wall Street attorney turned entrepreneur, offers motivational and practical advice to pursue your passions.   If you’ve ever felt drained and devalued through employment, the book helps you translate your passion into a viable, profitable business.   The personal case studies are inspiring and prove you CAN do it.  Our review:  Are You a Career Renegade?


Constant Contact Guide to Email MarketingThe Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing This book by Eric Groves offers best practices for email marketing. As the title suggests, the focus is on Constant Contact, an email marketing provider for small businesses. But don’t let that fool you.  No matter which email provider you use, you’ll be able to apply practical advice.  Examples include: how to build an email list and how to create compelling content. Read reviews on Amazon.


Crush ItCrush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion This book by online marketing phenomenon Gary Vaynerchuk focuses on how to build an online business and how to use social media and online marketing to grow a business.  The book draws on his own experiences expanding his family’s  liquor store using techniques such as a video blog. The author’s personality infuses this book.  Read reviews.


Escape from Cubicle NationEscape from Cubicle Nation Written by Pamela Slim, this is the ultimate road map for getting yourself out of that corporate cubicle and into your own startup.  There is so much to consider when making this leap. The author provides practical advice for those dreaming of becoming CEO of their own business. In addition to the practical aspects of starting a business, it also guides you through the emotional landmines of making the leap to entrepreneurship.  Read our review.


Immigrant IncImmigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy — This book challenges you to “think like an immigrant.”  It says that immigrants are twice as likely to launch a business. Immigrants are behind half of the high-tech startups in Silicon Valley.  One reviewer writes:  “Richard Herman and Robert Smith argue convincingly that without the fresh energy, skills and work ethic of immigrants, our ecomony would go stale.”  Read Amazon reviews.


New Community Rules by Tamar WeinbergThe New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web If you read just one book this season about social media, make sure it’s Tamar Weinberg’s “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.”  This book shows how to use social media to market your business.  Covers a large number of sites, from Twitter to lesser-known ones like Kirtsy.  Read our review of The New Community Rules.


Sassy Ladies Toolkit for Startup BusinessesThe Sassy Ladies Toolkit for Startup Businesses — This book is part reference guide, part  workbook, taking you step-by-step through starting your business.  It includes practical business advice for startups, with inspiring stories about women entrepreneurs, and a dash of humor so you don’t take yourself too seriously.  By 3 women entrepreneurs:  Michelle Girasole, Wendy Hanson and Miriam Perry.  Read reviews on Amazon.


Trust AgentsTrust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn TrustWritten by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, the term “Trust Agents” refers to digitally savvy people who are adept at using the Web to humanize a business through developing relationships.   These trust agents wield great power over business reputations, the authors say.  This book shows you how to develop relationships with trust agents, and how to become one.  Read reviews here.


Special note to all 47 nominees: congratulations to all who were nominated.  Your book had to get significant attention just to make the nominations list.  It was not a slam-dunk to be placed on the voting ballot.  The vote tally came in surprisingly close.  Roughly a dozen books missed the top 10 by a small margin.  You have much to be proud of.


Compare to last year’s winners:  2008 Reader’s Choice Business Book Awards.

Many thanks to QuestionPro, which provided the voting tool for the awards.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

18 Reactions
  1. I’ve read Trust Agents and it was very deserving of the Top 10. However, I’m disappointed I haven’t read more of the books on the list. I guess I know what I’ll be reading over the holidays…

  2. Anita,
    What a fantastic contest!Some great books to choose from this year, and it just amazes me how may smart people are in the small business community!

    Congrats to all the entrants, and especially the Top 10 Small Business Book authors…

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  3. Honored and humbled to have Career Renegade included in the company of such wonderful books, thinkers and authors. Thanks so much to all who shared their voices.

  4. Michelle Girasole

    Thank you, Anita!
    Wendy, Miriam and I are so honored to be included in this group of terrific books and talented authors. Thanks for all that you do for small business and entrepreneurs!
    Michelle Girasole

  5. More books to add to my reading list. I have read Career Renegade and Crush It! I have almost finished Trust Agents. I started to read The New Community Rules, but I gave it to a person who attended my workshop on social media, so I have to get that book again!

    As an American in spirit I have to get Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy. It will be great to have as fuel and inspiration for my journey to the Land of Opportunity – USA. I have received material from the Diversity Immigrant Visa program and I plan to move back to the United States of America. I studied and worked in America between 1997 – 2002. Do you have suggestions and tips on places in the Melting Pot that you think could be a good fit for me? For a background, please read my post, USA – Land of Opportunity. (Click on my name, Martin Lindeskog, if you want to read my post.)

  6. Great list of books. Look out for a new book called “Your Money Ratios”.